Snacks / Appetizers

Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

 

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At a time when “Regional” and “Ethnic” cuisine has spread all over the World and most of them have reached the far corners of our Planet, a large part of restaurant-goers consider themselves experts of some, or even many, different ethnic/regional cuisines.
Sadly (naturally), most experiences of these wannabe-experts come from a few visits of neighborhood “ethnic” restaurants and a subscription to the food channel, or, at best, a few encounters of local cuisine one has mustered on a once in a lifetime vacation to an exotic, foreign country.
Therefore, nowadays, when everyone pretends to be “food-hip“, “in” and “worldly“, everybody and Joe want to open a restaurant that serves food from around the World, with the proprietor and workers usually never having encountered a dish that is even close to its supposed origin.
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However, because of this worldwide spreading of cuisines,  most folks have had the pleasure to taste Scandinavian herring salad in one form or another, either in a restaurant or at home, sourced in a small plastic container at the neighborhood supermarket. These come in many different flavors and colors – with fresh dill, fresh chives, potatoes, red beets, cucumbers, pasta, capers, pickles of any type, apples, oranges, eggs, with matjes herring or salt herring, even with added sausage, etc, etc.
Many of them are surprisingly delicious, though, after all, these ingredients are hard to mess up. However, in my humble opinion, of the commercial type herring salads, most have one fundamental fault – they are diced way too small and evenly (which, admittingly, is the proper restaurant-way).
When one forkful contains five or more ingredients of very finely diced ingredients, the mix becomes one coherent mess in your mouth, which I find rather boring. I much rather have the ingredients diced larger, so that with each bite I have two or maybe three different textures and tastes, which results in the pleasure of each bite surprising me with a new combination of yumminess. 🙂
This salad can be served as an appetizer, first course, snack or main course, accompanied by steamed potatoes, sauteed potatoes, rustic bread, or Gouda crackers (as in these pictures).
Pls note that I did not include measurements – let the ratio be guided by your preferences – more or fewer veggies, herring, yogurt, mayo, and so forth – and eliminate any of the ingredients which you don´t like.  🙂
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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Herring Salad – (Heringsalat) – (Sillsallad) – (Shuba – Селедка под шубой)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Fish & Chips

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While preparing crepes is a snap, both time-wise and on difficulty level, defrosting a large flour tortilla is even easier and faster 🙂
Also, the taste and texture are a bit more rustic, so it fits perfectly with the other ingredients for this dish.
Usually, this is a bit substantial for a dessert, (having stuffed the large tortillas to capacity with Nutella and bananas), so for most folks, it is more suitable as a light (sinful) lunch or a large snack.
Of course,  you can use smaller tortillas and less stuffing if you prefer to serve this as a dessert. Also, use any fruit or fruit combination)
But, whatever size or filling you choose, this is a  wonderfully delicious, economical and easy to prepare dish, which I am sure you will enjoy.  🙂
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Caramelized Banana & Chocolate Burrito With Strawberry Preserve

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Preparation :
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To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures

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Escargot Catalan

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While “Escargots à la Bourguignonne” (Snails in Garlic–Herb Butter) is my favorite snail-dish, “Escargot Catalan” is a close second. (As long as there is enough garlic, herbs and a proper red wine in the sauce).
This dish not only serves as a perfect appetizer or snack, but it can also stand on its own feet as a main course, accompanied by sauteed potatoes, rice, or hearty, crusty bread to mop up the wonderful sauce. 🙂
It also serves perfectly as a family/friends meal, in a large bowl in the center of the table, from where everybody can help themselves to seconds (or thirds), the wonderful meal enriched with good wine and lively conversation. 🙂
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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Escargot Catalan

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Preparation :
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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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If you think that the salted cucumber addition for this soup are just a fru-fru gimmick to add some green color to the picture, think again 🙂
These pickled cucumbers truly add an surprising element of sophistication to an otherwise simple, everyday soup.
BTW, I also like to eat pickled cucumbers as a snack, either plain-salted, as shown here, or prepared a bit more elaborate,
such as in my “Chinese pickled cucumbers recipe”   (涼拌黃瓜   liáng bàn huáng guā recipe)

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Bombay Carrot, Coconut & Ginger Soup With Salted Cucumbers

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Preparation :
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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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Pls don´t miss the link at the bottom of this page for a truly “different” cooking tutorial ……
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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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This salad is probably ? the first “Main Course Salad” that ever hit a restaurant table, way back then.
In the meantime, it has been re-invented/improved a million times, with the ingredients changing from year to year, season to season, cook to cook, household to household, country to country, and restaurant to restaurant.
Probably, the only constant were always salad greens, onions, and tuna, otherwise, the imagination for tuna salad knows no bounds 🙂 Other typical ingredients are (among a million others), anchovies, potatoes, eggs, artichokes, herbs, asparagus, etc, etc.
While I have to admit that my desire to create a “new” version of tuna salad has occasionally got the better of me, my favorite version is still this simple one featured here on this page. 🙂
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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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Easy Does it # 39 – “Tuna Salad”

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mix everything with 1/3 cup herb vinaigrette

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check/adjust seasoning

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Preparation :
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And now, one for the road, not to be missed :
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Paris Hilton cooks Lasagna at her own “Cooking Show”
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I am torn between being sad, amused, disgusted and/or outraged about the fact that some folks (many ? !!!) find this to be an actual tutorial to learn cooking.
It is without a doubt a tutorial for various bad traits – but cooking is definitely not one of them 🙂 😦
This episode is one of the worst examples of how bad “cooking shows” have actually become. Most are shameful, ridiculous, bad, stupid and, flat-out, pure garbage.
My only hope is that this particular one is supposed to be satire and not to be taken seriously, but, judging from the ladies behavior and the general state of mind of the kind of people who watch crap like this, chances are that it is meant to be taken seriously:-(
God help us all !
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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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I believe, nowadays most everybody is familiar with chicken tacos.
These here beauties are essentially the same, except that the chicken has been replaced with the much more succulent and tasty capon.
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What Is a Capon ?
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Excerpt of an article by Danilo Alfaro on “thespruceEats”
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A capon is a special type of chicken created to make the meat more tender and less gamy. It is a rooster that has been castrated before reaching sexual maturity, which improves the quality of the meat; after that, it is fed a rich diet of milk or porridge. The lack of testosterone makes for a more tender, flavorful meat that is a delight compared to regular chicken. Unfortunately, in the United States today, it may be rare to see capon on a dinner menu or in the grocery store.

You can prepare capon like any other poultry dish. Typically, capons are roasted and the procedure for doing so is similar to roasting a chicken; due to its larger size, however, the cooking time will be longer.
Traditionally, roosters are braised. For instance, the classic French dish coq au vin involves braising a rooster in red wine. That is because their meat is tougher than chicken meat and they are usually slaughtered at an older age, which toughens the meat as well. As such, braising is also a good cooking technique for preparing capon.
A capon is more flavorful than a chicken as well as a turkey, with tender and juicy meat that is is void of any gamey taste. It is full-breasted and has a high-fat content, keeping what could become dry white meat nice and moist as it cools.
If you do manage to find capon meat in your local grocery store, you can follow a braised chicken recipe to prepare it. A whole, cut-up capon combines with bacon, leeks, onion, garlic, rosemary, tomato paste, chicken stock, and white wine and cooks slowly until bubbling and cooked through.

A roasted capon is a perfect centerpiece for a dinner party or holiday table. Keep it somewhat simple or try something a little more exotic.
Depending on where you live and how specialized your local supermarket is, you may be able to find a capon in the poultry section. Since capon is not an item that is bought often and therefore restocked regularly, it is important to look at the “sell-by” date, as well as the quality of the meat and make sure it’s fresh.
If you don’t see a capon in the poultry case, it is worth asking the butcher if he can get one for you. Otherwise, specialty groceries and online meat purveyors are your best bet.
If you don’t plan to cook the capon immediately, you can store it in the refrigerator for two to three days. To be sure that no liquids escape into your fridge, place the packaged capon in a plastic bag first. For longer storage, you can freeze the capon for three to four months, although it will begin to lose its flavor after two months. If the capon came with giblets, remove them before freezing and store separately.
In a 4-ounce serving of roasted capon (including the skin), there are 259 calories and 13.2 grams of fat, as well as 97 milligrams of cholesterol (which is 32 percent of the daily recommended value). Capon also has 32.7 grams of protein, making it a good source of this nutrient.”
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End of excerpt
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Read here all about   Capon
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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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Capon Tacos

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Preparation :
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To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures

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“BOUCHÉE À LA REINE RAGOUT FIN” (VOL-AU-VENT) (KÖNIGIN PASTETE)

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“BOUCHÉE À LA REINE RAGOUT FIN” (VOL-AU-VENT) (KÖNIGIN PASTETE)

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When I was a kid and later as an apprentice and a young cook, this dish was available in most good restaurants as a standard a la carte Item, either as a light snack consisting of one vol au vent, or two vol au vents accompanied by a small salad as a main course, most popular with ladies and children. It often also was part of a menu of several dishes, as well as part of after-dinner small dish menus, which were served between the end of regular food serving time and closing time. Aahhh, the good old times. 🙂

Classic ragout fin consists of veal, sweetbread, calf brain, tongue and bone marrow, chicken breast, mushrooms and/or fish, bound with Sauce Allemande (Sauce Suprême).
Nowadays, unless we are in a VERY hi-class french cuisine restaurant, ragout fine usually means a fine ragout of diced veal or chicken and diced mushrooms, bound with Sauce Velouté, sometimes topped with a dollop of Sauce Hollandaise.
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !
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Following, find an excerpt from 196 Recipes :

There is often some confusion between a bouchée à la reine and a vol-au-vent. The first one is attributed to a French queen, while the last one is the work of one of the greatest French chefs of the time. Indeed, it is to Marie Leczinska (1703-1768), Queen of France and wife of Louis XV, that we owe the delicious recipe for bouchée à la reine. Marie Leczinska was the daughter of King Stanislaus of Poland, who was dethroned and exiled to Lorraine, in the east of France.

BRIEF HISTORY OF MARIE LECZINSKA
When Louis XV, who was only fifteen years of age, fell ill again in 1725, the Duke of Bourbon feared for his future that the Duke of Orleans, his rival, would ascend the throne. To avoid this, it was necessary that Louis XV assured a descent as soon as possible. After drawing up a list of one hundred European princesses to marry, Marie Leszczynska, seven years older than him, was chosen, as she was old enough to have children.
This very discreet and very pious woman was a devoted mother and wife. Her marriage to Louis XV in 1725 was nevertheless welcomed as a disappointment by the people as the union was not deemed prestigious enough for a king of France. Nevertheless, helped by her sweetness and her beneficent character, she finally won the hearts of the people. The marriage will be happy, at least during the first years. The young king of France was sincerely in love with his wife, and Marie gave him no less than ten children in ten years. However, her successive maternities tired her and made her age early. Louis XV began to leave her for his mistresses, the best known of which were Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry.

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF BOUCHÉE À LA REINE?
Inspired by pastries made from sweet puff pastry like the puits d’amour (wells of love) created by chef Vincent La Chapelle, at the request of her rival Madame de Pompadour, Marie then ordered the kitchens of the Court, and in particular Nicolas Stohrer, creator of the baba au rhum (rum baba), a dish that would attempt to awaken the ardor of her unfaithful husband. Thus she had the idea of ​​bouchée à la reine. The goal was to use ingredients with supposedly aphrodisiac properties. The original recipe mentioned puff pastries garnished with a salpicon (a mixture of vegetables, fish or meat). The original garnish of these bouchées à la reine mentions sweetbreads, lamb’s brains, cock’s crests and kidneys, marrow, quenelles of poultry, lamb testicles, truffles and mushrooms, green olives, all bound by a sauce financière. This recipe did not really have the effect expected by the queen, since King Louis XV accumulated infidelities until the end of his life. On the other hand, the bouchée à la reine became a huge success. Indeed, Stanislas, father of the queen and Duke of Lorraine, contributed to its popularity in the buffets of the nobility of Lorraine. The bouchée à la reine is today a must in the French gastronomy, just like the quiche lorraine. Nowadays, the bouchée à la reine comes in many forms, the most classic recipes being based on chicken, quenelle, sweetbreads or seafood. The sauce, often garnished with chopped button mushrooms (champignons de Paris), must be thick enough so that the puff pastry remains crisp. The queen and wife of Louis XV is also at the origin of other famous dishes like the consommé à la reine, the fillet of sirloin braised à la royale and was at the origin of the appearance of the lenses in the French cuisine.

WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF VOL-AU-VENT?
Vol-au-vent (French for “windblown” to describe its lightness), meanwhile, is attributed to Antonin Carême, cook and author of culinary books. He replaced the crust of the bouchée à la reine which was a dough similar to a shortcrust pastry, by a lighter puff pastry. Carême popularized the use of a lighter and crisp puff pastry to make pies, whether savory or sweet. Vol-au-vent therefore refers to the puff pastry container. The vol-au-vent fillings are varied, usually based on meat, sweetbreads, fish, shellfish, snails, or mushrooms. The mixture is bound with a thick sauce like a bisque, bechamel sauce, with cream, with Nantuasauce suprême or sauce financière. Originally, the size of the vol-au-vent is about 6 to 8 inches. It is only from the middle of the 20th century that the size of the vol-au-vent merges with that of bouchée à la reine, which is closer to 4 inches in diameter. The hors d’oeuvre called mini bouchée or bouchée mignonne, meanwhile, is usually 2 inches in diameter.

THE BOUCHÉE À LA REINE, POPULARIZED BY ESCOFFIER
In 1902, chef Auguste Escoffier listed sixteen recipes of appetizers of different appellations, shapes and garnishes, including the bouchée à la reine. Among its different recipes, you can find :

– Bouchée Bouquetière, made from a vegetable brunoise
– Bouchée Diane, game-based
– Bouchée Grand Duc, made with asparagus tips and truffles
– Bouchée Montglas, made with foie gras and mushrooms
– Bouchée Nantua, made from crayfish tails and Nantua sauce
– Bouchée Victoria, made with lobster meat and lobster sauce

The lid of the bouchées can be puff pastry, truffle or borrowed from the main element of the filling.

HOW TO SERVE A BOUCHÉE À LA REINE
The bouchée à la reine is usually served as a starter, presented by itself on a plate or accompanied by a green salad. When served as a main dish, it can be served with rice, mashed potatoes or pasta, as in Lorraine, where it is often accompanied by noodles or spätzle. Some add a good ladle of the filling on the side. Most people buy pre-made vol-au-vent, and I would do the same if I lived in France. Only, outside of France, these small puff pastry containers are difficult to find. Never mind, if you manage to find puff pastry or even better, if you have the courage to make homemade puff pastry, you can very easily make them yourself and fill them to make bouchée à la reine, whether classic or not. Just use your imagination! “

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“BOUCHÉE À LA REINE RAGOUT FIN” (VOL-AU-VENT) (KÖNIGIN PASTETE)

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“BOUCHÉE À LA REINE RAGOUT FIN” (VOL-AU-VENT) (KÖNIGIN PASTETE)

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“BOUCHÉE À LA REINE RAGOUT FIN” (VOL-AU-VENT) (KÖNIGIN PASTETE)

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“BOUCHÉE À LA REINE RAGOUT FIN” (VOL-AU-VENT) (KÖNIGIN PASTETE)

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“BOUCHÉE À LA REINE RAGOUT FIN” (VOL-AU-VENT) (KÖNIGIN PASTETE)

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“BOUCHÉE À LA REINE RAGOUT FIN” (VOL-AU-VENT) (KÖNIGIN PASTETE)

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Preparation :
To read instructions, hover over pictures
To enlarge pictures and read instructions, click on pictures

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Click here for Sauce Velouté Recipe
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“Pigs Trotters” (Part 1 – Caribbean Souse)


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Pig’s feet  are not everybody’s cup of tea, but for those of us who love them, they are a special treat.
I prepare them quite often, in stews, steamed, braised, Asian style, Latin style, German style; any which way is fine with me 🙂
The following dish is Caribbean Style Souse, as I enjoyed it many moon’s ago a couple of times in Trinidad, at the home of my friend Lyron’s mother.
Very spicy and lightly acidic, with lots of vegetables, it was the perfect food on a hot day by the beach, spend in wonderful company and washed down with a few bottles of Carib Beer – nothing else was needed in those moments to feel happy and content 🙂
These meals (and times) are now in the distant past; all that’s left are the happy memories, vividly recalled by preparing the meals we enjoyed together then – Lyron and his wife Dorsey, my wife Maria, myself and Lyron’s mother, whose name eludes me after all these years but whom I always remember when preparing this particular souse………….
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Bon Appétit !   Life is Good !

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“Pigs Trotters” (Part 1 – Caribbean Souse)

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“Pigs Trotters” (Part 1 – Caribbean Souse)

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“Pigs Trotters” (Part 1 – Caribbean Souse)

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Caribbean Souse

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Preparation :
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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Now that I am back in Germany, seafood is much harder to come by for me than back in Miami, and the variety does not even come close. At least, some of the folks who complained in the past about too much seafood on  ChefsOpinion  can now be more entertained with a wider variety of meat dishes, since the variety of dishes prepared with meat is so much larger here than there 🙂
However, just like I lusted over the past few Decades for familiar meat dishes from my original home, I now miss the seafood that was so readily available to me on my travels through the Caribbean, South East Asia, South America, the Orient, Alaska, Florida and so many other places along or close to the coasts´ of the World, especially at my other home Florida, where one can always count on ones friendly ?? neighborhood Asian market with their endless fresh/ live seafood selections.
So now, every so often, I will still splurge on a big portion of good-quality seafood for Bella and me, to make sure we don´t lose our touch with that part of happy eating.  🙂
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Click here for  Tzatziki Recipe
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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Stir-Fried Chili Black Tigers With Cucumber Salsa On Iceberg Hearts In Lime Vinaigrette, Tzatziki

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Tzatziki

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Bellas Portion
Initial portion I should say, of course she got more of my tigers  (and lettuce with tzatziki, which she loves)   🙂
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Preparation :
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